“PNG needs a Consumer Council to help protect PNG families from unfair price increases and poor quality products. In the fierce competition of Waigani politics, there are many groups and individuals that will speak out in the interests of resource companies or the local manufacturing industry or formal sector employees. However, there is no group representing the special interests of consumers. We need a stronger consumer voice in Waigani, backed with good research and lobbying skills, to help protect the people of PNG from unbalanced price increases such as the massive and unfair tariff increases imposed in recent budgets. A Consumer Council could also focus on the quality of goods and services, including issues such as ensuring both imported as well as local goods are safe and have adequate labelling in English” stated the Shadow Minister for Treasury and Finance, Ian Ling-Stuckey.

“When considering how best to respond to Treasurer Abel’s misleading remarks on his tax tariff increases, and his personal attack on me as Shadow Treasurer, it is timely for a constructive proposal. This is why the Alternative Government is putting forward the idea of a PNG Consumer Council to put the voice of PNG families back into Waigani politics. The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission also needs to be strengthened. However, as this is a government body, there is also a need for a lobby group focused on the interests of consumers. PNG needs this new consumer voice to balance out the voice of other interests such as the manufacturing sector. The lobbyists from this manufacturing group have got Treasurer Abel under control. In my previous media release covering the tariff increases on flour products, I highlighted how the Treasurer had simply ignored the advice and findings of their independent experts – the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission. Their 2015 report made clear that flour tariffs were already hurting consumers and were not needed to protect local jobs. Why is such advice ignored? The answer is the entire PNC government is under the control of vested business interests, their government besties. Unfortunately, the great losers from this are the people of PNG and our children which will be paying back massive debts from poor policies and who will lack the job and income opportunities which we should give them” said the Shadow Treasurer.

“We need a Consumer Council to back up expert findings from the ICCC and lobby for consumer interests. A new Consumer Council is the type of positive action the Alternative Government would take to fix the economic mess of the last seven years. It is time for a new coalition government with a more balanced policy agenda, one that also looks after the interests of all in PNG including consumers and our children” said Mr Ling-Stuckey.

 

Hon.Ian Ling-Stuckey,CMG.MP
Shadow Minister for Treasury & Finance

 9  January 2019